Alaska Volunteers Robbed: 4 Times

A rural fire department in inland Alaska has been unable so far to thwart a criminal who repeatedly has heisted its underground fuel tanks.

"There are five stations in the department. No quarters. Very rural. Limited personnel", says Jerry Hanson, Deputy Chief of the North Pole Volunteer Fire Department.

The frequent burglaries illustrate the difficulties rural volunteer departments may have with law enforcement when funds and resources are limited.

Hanson believes it is the same criminal that robbed his department each of the four times, since it would the complexity of burglary tactics would require an area native to be vigilant and watch for patterns.

The first burglary succeeded a couple of years ago when the criminal managed to break a lock.

Subsequently, the fire department put what it thought to be an improved lock on the entrance, but the lock was broken with a sledgehammer.

The thief evaded the department